U.S. hiring topped forecasts in June while unemployment rose from an 18-year low and wage gains unexpectedly slowed, indicating the labor market is still absorbing spare capacity.
Payrolls rose 213,000 after an upwardly revised 244,000 advance, Labor Department figures showed Friday. The median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg called for a gain of 195,000 jobs. Average hourly earningsadvanced 2.7 percent from a year earlier, while the jobless rate increased to 4 percent from 3.8 percent, the first rise in almost a year.
A steady pace of hiring and gradually rising wages, along with lower taxes, are helping underpin consumer spending and propelling a rebound in U.S. growth this quarter. While the sunny outlook led Federal Reserve officials last month to boost the number of interest-rate hikes they expect in 2018, an intensifying trade war threatens to sap economic momentum, and a shrinking pool of qualified workers may slow the pace of employment gains.
The rise in the jobless rate may ease any pressure on the Fed to raise interest rates at a faster pace. The rate is already below central bank estimates of levels sustainable in the long run, making it a potential source of upward pressure on wages and inflation.
Hanging over the labor market are President Donald Trump's tariffs on goods from some of America's largest trading partners, along with retaliatory charges. Levies on $34 billion in Chinese goods took effect at 12:01 a.m. Washington time on Friday. Economists say the effects could include companies freezing future investment and potentially additional hiring, which would eventually have a cooling effect on the jobs figures in coming months.
Revisions to prior reports added a total of 37,000 jobs to payrolls in the previous two months, according to the figures, resulting in a three-month average of 211,000. In general, monthly payroll gains of around 100,000 -- or even a bit less -- are sufficient to keep pushing down the unemployment rate, according to economists.
Source : Bloomberg